Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cloth and Wine

"No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment ...Neither do men put new wine into old bottles ... they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved." - Jesus (Matthew 9:16-17)
Jesus brings something comparable to new cloth and new wine. He doesn't make his freshness fit into old religious systems, but he doesn't throw them away either.

The context is fasting and, by inference, other religious observance. By saying, "...both are preserved" Jesus indicates the old has value but can't contain all Jesus offers. Continuing the analogy, old garments are comfortable and new cloth is strong; both have value. Old wine skins hold mature full bodied elixir and new wine is fresh and tasty; again, both have value.

We can enjoy traditional liturgy and religious observances seeing Jesus in them and be touch by its maturity, beauty, and stability. We can also enjoy freedom of worship with hands raised, shouts of praise, and a Jericho march or two (but probably not in the same service).

Both are wonderful when we recognize the value is not the wine skins, but the wine.

- fritz

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